Family Support during covid-19
Coronavirus : Supporting Emotional Wellbeing for Children and Families
In this unprecedented time, we are going to experience a range of emotions - this is normal. There are some key things that we can do to look after our emotional health.
Talk to your children and answer their questions. Ask about what they have heard about the virus and the situation. Allow them to ask questions so that you can correct possible misconceptions and reassure them.
Give them the space to ask these questions. There are no wrong or silly questions.
Remember your child’s age. Give them factual information but adjust the amount and detail to fit their age. For example, you might say ‘we don’t yet have a vaccination for Coronavirus, but doctors are working very hard on it’ or ‘a lot of people might get sick, but normally it is like a cold or flu and they get better’.
Younger children might understand a cartoon or picture better than an explanation.
It is ok to say you don’t know - at the moment, there are questions we don’t have answers to about Coronavirus.
LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF
Avoid being too immersed in media coverage. Be mindful of the amount and the content of the things you are reading and watching, including social media – as this may add to worry and anxiety. Consider a few updates every day from trusted sources.
Take care of yourself. Make sure you have breaks, time to relax, and ask for help from others if you need, whether at home or in school. If you are at home, music, breathing and relaxation exercises, distraction (such as watching something funny), pets and exercise can all help. Talk to your children when you feel calm – it will reassure them.
AS A FAMILY
During the school closure, make sure that you have structure to your day at home, but do not feel that you need to replicate a full school day. Most parents and carers aren’t teachers, so it’s OK not to be doing ‘school work’ for six hours a day.
Keep to routines (e.g. time for learning, lunch time, break times). Children respond better to routine and stability. It will be helpful to involve children in creating this routine, so that they feel part of the plan, rather than the plan being imposed on them. You could display the routine using a timeline, or maybe pictures and visuals. Encourage children to develop independence by referring to their own routine/plan themselves.
Do not worry if the routine isn’t perfect – Remember, this is not a normal situation.
It would be helpful to keep school work in once place or area of the house. This can help to maintain a work/home boundary.
If your child seems worried, it may be good to distract them with something that takes their mind off their worries. You might also want to set aside 10-15 minutes each day for them to talk about any worries, and to reassure them.
Remember to keep things positive and give children hope. For example, tell children that now many people are working to make this better and that even though it is serious, everyone is doing their best to help people.
Do nice things together and keep active. Make a timetable/plan of when family time and nice things will happen, for example, playing games, cooking, exercise or do other things that you know most of you like.
Try to find a good balance between time together and screen time. Try not to worry too much if your rules for screen time become relaxed, although do ensure parental controls are on electronic devices and that you can supervise (as best as possible) screen time.
Keep in good contact with family and friends (via Facetime, Skype, WhatsApp etc.). This will help children connect with others and know that others are thinking about them. It will also reassure them that others are well.
Some useful links:
How to talk to your child about coronavirus, by Unicef:
Coronavirus and your wellbeing, by Mind UK:
Helpful information to answer children questions about coronavirus - Place2Be
Child Line : Calm Zone - a toolkbox of activities such as breathing exercises, coping videos, yoga videos and games that can help children feel calm in a period of disruption.
Newsround : child-friendly news updates
Wirral Safeguarding Children Partnership (inc. domestic violence support)
Below is section 6.3 taken from today's (01/04/20) DfE briefing : Closure of educational settings: information for parents and carers
With so many young people at home online safety is crucial and it is important that they remain safe. We want to support you in achieving that safety.
6.3 Where can I go to get support to help keep my child safe online?
There is a lot of support available to keep your child safe online. Below are some useful links to help parents and carers:
- Thinkyouknow (advice from the National Crime Agency to stay safe online)
- Internet matters (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
- Parent info (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
- LGfL (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
- Net-aware (support for parents and careers from the NSPCC)